He explained that cheek biting often causes ulcers, which in themselves may be painful, but because they are often re-bitten once they have formed they can take time to heal and can therefore damage the inner cheek tissue.
Dr Marques added that, in extremely rare cases, this can even “lead to an increased risk of oral cancer due to changes in the cheek tissue which can eventually result in changes to the cells”.
If you’re at all worried about your oral hygiene, and want some peace of mind about your risk of developing oral cancer, consider arranging cancer screening in Surrey or wherever you live to have your mouth checked by a professional.
According to Cancer Research UK, 91 per cent of cases of oral cancer in the country are preventable, so identifying potentially damaging habits like cheek biting is one way to lower your risk of developing the disease in the first place.
While we’ve all bitten our cheeks before, this doesn’t translate into a habit unless it becomes repeated behaviour. Dr Marques said that in many cases, habitual cheek biting is a result of increased stress levels, anxiety or even boredom.
He stressed that if you know you have a tendency to bite your cheeks, consider what’s triggering the behaviour and do what you can to reduce it.